MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.75/5
Format: Kindle Whispersync
Follow the law and you'll stay safe. But what if the law is wrong? Tashue's faith in the law is beginning to crack. Three years ago, he stood by when the Authority condemned Jason to the brutality of the Rift for non-compliance. When Tashué's son refused to register as tainted, the laws had to be upheld. He'd never doubted his job as a Regulation Officer before, but three years of watching your son wither away can break down even the strongest convictions. Then a dead girl washed up on the bank of the Brightwash, tattooed and mutilated. Where had she come from?
Who would tattoo a child? Was it the same person who killed her? Why was he the only one who cared?
Will Tashue be able to stand against everything he thought he believed in to get the answers he's looking for?
This is not exactly in my wheelhouse, as it is considered a romantic, gaslamp, GrimDark series. Romance is not something I typically like to read, but with it being so highly rated and touted by other readers and bloggers, as well not only being a 2021 SPFBO 7 finalist, but also a 2021 Reddit Stabby nominee for Best Debut and Best Indie Book, I knew I had to move it up my list and read it.
With that said, THIS IS THE WORST THING I HAVE EVER READ, is something I would never say about this book! This is a tragic love story of redemption in a gritty place of self-loathing people who are only looking out for themselves. There’s not a lot of action that goes on, unless you want to count the few sex scenes as action (giggity), which I’ll be honest and say that I did skip over those. Nothing against it, if it’s something you like, then you’re probably going to like it, it’s not for me. Regardless of that, I still thought the story was phenomenal. What I can say is that Matar has such a fantastic story-telling ability, this was one of those stories that sucked me in immediately and I would read or Whispersync every chance I could.
“Talent is not the ability to light a lamp or heal a wound. Talent is the ability to touch the world around us and change the flow of energy.”
The story has a uniqueness to it, because it’s a bit of a detective story wrapped in fantasy and mixed in a good bit of humor here and there. Part of the story reminds me a bit of the MCU and the Sokovia Accords or The Mutant Registration Act of the X-Men, with how it was designed to control and regulate the superheroes by forcing them to register. The ones that didn’t were basically fugitives, this gave the story such a dark undertone of the treatment of people that were considered “different.” There is also a bit of a Shakespearean, Romeo and Juliet type of forbidden love story intertwined that also helps show not only the dark undertones of the world, but that there is light that still remains.
I love a book with multiple narrators, there’s nothing wrong with one doing all the voices, but sometimes having two completely different voices to do the male and female parts just makes it flow a lot smoother, and Paul Woodson & Felicity Munroe did a really fantastic job of that. Speaking of that, the characters that Matar constructed were all phenomenal. Maybe it was the narration by Felicity Munroe coupled with how Matar wrote the character, but I think my favorite had to be the wonderful Ceridwen. Though I did like Tashué and Stella quite a bit as they both brought a powerful presence to the pages, Ceridwen stole every page she was on.